Make a simple bug or ladybird home

Activity

Create an insect home for the garden at school or to take home.

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors & Indoors
  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Science, Art&DT

Learning objectives

  • Learn about hibernation
  • Learn about native wildlife and insects
  • Care for the environment
  • Make an object fit for purpose

Preparation

Think about which insect you are looking to attract with your bug home. Try to find out more about them and where they usually hibernate.
To reduce, reuse and recycle plastic plant pots, milk cartons, plastic bottles or old cardboard coffee cups can be collect to make these bug homes. 

Equipment needed

  • 2 litre plastic drinks bottles, plant pots, milk cartons or old cardboard coffee cups 
  • Use a piece of plastic pipe e.g. down pipe
  • Bamboo canes or rolled newspaper straws
  • Corrugated cardboard 
  • Scissors 
  • Waterproof tape 

Step by step

  1. Cut the end off a plastic drinks bottle or cut a plastic pipe to 20cm in length. To reduce, reuse and recycle plastic plant pots, milk cartons or old carboard coffee cups can also be used.
  2. Make newspaper tubes by cutting newspaper lengthways and rolling up. Ensure there is a hole in the centre of around 4mm. Rolled corrugated cardboard can also be used. 
  3. Cut the material to the length of the pot or bottle. The bamboo needs to be cut so that the solid node is at the closed end or the whole length is hollow.
  4. Fit the materials tightly into the bottle or pot, so they won’t fall out. Ensure the hollow ends are facing outwards, and will be protected from rain.
  5. Place your bug home almost horizontally in a warm spot with the open end slightly lower to prevent water logging. Bug homes are best placed no higher than 1m above the ground. The best places to put them are in a tree, bush, at the base of a tree and most importantly in a quiet place. 
  6. The best season to make a bug home would be early autumn, so the insects have somewhere to hibernate for the winter.
 

Hints & tips

  • Insects need somewhere to stay during the winter
  • Ladybirds are very helpful to gardeners as they eat aphids that damage plants

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